Ch-ch-ch-changes! Or: How to keep your sanity


Woman A vs. Woman B:

Woman A is always feeling rushed. Her day starts later than she’d like and she is up well past midnight most nights. She has many obligations to others and hates to let people down. Consequently, she has less time for her own household. Her garden is….wait. There is no garden this year because she missed all the planting times and besides, who has time for pulling weeds? Crafts sit in lonely baskets unfinished. Sewing…are you kidding? When can one find the time for THAT? Several months of magazines and books patiently wait to be read. Who has time for reading? Dust and clutter silently build up in forgotten corners. The house itself needs minor maintenance, but when will the free time come to do repairs or a good spring cleaning? After all, currently there is no wiggle room in Woman A’s schedule for any more activities. She is a day late, a dollar short, and several pounds heavier than she would like. At night, she collapses on the couch, exhausted, and spends several hours online on social media, reading, and basically escaping her busy world.

Woman B rises in the morning well-rested. She gets dressed in an outfit she chose the night before, then she makes the bed. Because she is up earlier than her household, she has time to enjoy her coffee and think about the day. She feeds the dogs and plans today’s breakfast. Each day has an assigned task: Mondays are light housekeeping days (one hour), Tuesdays mean it’s time to clean the refrigerator, use up leftovers, and plan the next week’s meals. It is also a day to work on her budget and balance the checkbook. Wednesdays are her ‘free time days’, so she can spend her extra time as she wishes (usually by reading or gardening). Thursdays are errand days, so this is a day for any appointments, post office trips, grocery trips, etc. She is sure to schedule any of the family’s appointments for Thursdays to keep car trips to a minimum. Fridays are another light housekeeping day (one hour), and a day to clean out her purse and car. All of these things are done in the morning and she is done by lunch. Saturdays are family days, and Sundays are days used for self-reflection and enjoyable tasks. Woman B can easily say “No” to invitations and activities that leave her feeling stressed or too “stretched out”.

For many years, I was Woman A. Though I am not yet fully Woman B, I am getting there as fast as I can. Before, I was always tired and I felt run-down. I had obligations to others outside my family that simply took a lot of time from the people who mean the most to me. These were self-imposed, of course. I hadn’t read a book in months or maintained a nice garden for a few years, and those are two of my favorite activities. My crafts were shoved into long-forgotten dusty baskets. Where was the farm girl who used to sew, crochet, and knit? The one who canned tomatoes and jam like clockwork every year? She was buried under her own choices; choices that ultimately took away her time and energy from the things that she truly loved.

I think that so many of us women are like the proverbial chicken running around without its head. We say yes to a lot of things, and many, mind you, are GOOD things, if not even GREAT things, but if it means ending up with us burning the candle at both ends, is it really worth it? In one word: NO. We end up stressed out, gulping down wine and chocolate (in my case, endless chips and dip), and feeling like we are stuck in a huge rut with no time for things that we truly enjoy.

The most powerful word in the universe is “NO”. I encourage anyone who is seriously stressing out to practice using it! It is not always easy, because the requests may be for a great cause. However, we can very quickly “yes” ourselves right into a nervous breakdown/major burnout if we allow it. Granted, there are seasons in our lives where things may be naturally more hectic. There are times when things will be crazy by no fault of our own. That’s life, after all. But I am concentrating on those times when we have a choice…when we could have said no and avoided the insanity that ensues.

It’s difficult to decline invitations and offers, but before I answer, I think of my family. The two little people that I helped to create, and the older one that I chose to spend my days with. If my ‘yes’ means it will ultimately take away from the relationships with those three, then I am going to answer no. It hasn’t been easy to do, because I feel that I have let some people down, but I also know that I did what is best for myself and my little people.

Have you ever felt like you have taken on too much? And if so, what have you done to correct that? I really want to know.

If you enjoy reading, the book “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst is a very nice read about this very subject. She is a Christian author, however the book is not what you would call ‘preachy’. Rather, it is full of good examples from her own life and Biblical quotes.

Last of all, Woman A likely would not have noticed this lovely constrast of her Le Marne roses and Chinese pistache as she would have been rushing out the back door.